St Laurence Orchard is a historic site that Trust Links manages on behalf of Southend Borough Council.
The site is very tranquil and offers a quiet, peaceful space for people and wildlife. As well as numerous varieties of apples, St Laurence Orchard is also planted with plum trees, greengages and pear trees. In the summer months Trust Links arrange regular work parties to tend the trees and maintain the orchard.
We provide hot drinks and tools but volunteers need to bring their own lunch. If you’d like to come to a work party day, just come along! You can stay for a few hours or the whole day, whatever suits.
St Laurence Orchard is also open to the public twice a year for our Wassailing and Apple Day events. These celebrate the abundant harvest at the Orchard and revive ancient traditions for modern times.
Orchard Heritage and Mental Health
St Laurence Orchard is the last surviving fragment of a much larger orchard, which was first planted around 1920 after the First World War. Essex County Council leased the site to veterans of the Great War as a place to learn new skills and recover from the trauma of the Great War. The soldiers came from the nearby Shoeburyness Barracks.
There are over fifty-three types of apples at St Laurence Orchard, including a D’Arcy Spice – a very rare local variety. We also grow Bramleys and King of Pippins, as well as greengages, Pershore plums, pears and a single Cox apple tree grown from the original Cox apple tree.
Trust Links took over St Laurence Orchard in 2005. The Orchard has always been a place for therapeutic gardening and recovery, and we are very proud to conserve this special place for the local community across Southend.